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Trojan football team finishes 9-1, earns third seed in Div. I playoffs

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Oak Ridge High capped off its most successful regular season in years with a 28-14 win over Jesuit on Friday night.

The win wrapped up the regular season for the Trojans, who lost only one game and enter the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs as the third seed, behind top-seeded Franklin and No. 2 Burbank. Oak Ridge opens the playoffs Friday at home against 14th-seed Enochs (6-4).

“We’re happy to be the third seed; we’re happy to be anywhere in the playoffs,” Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere said. “We’re looking forward to taking it one game at a time and our only focus right now is on Enochs.”

Cavaliere didn’t want to look ahead in the playoffs, but if the Trojans win Friday, they will have another home playoff game the following week against sixth-seed Pitman or 11th-seed Tokay. If Oak Ridge reaches the semifinals, the Trojans figure to have a tough matchup. Burbank is the No. 2 seed and had an undefeated regular season, while seventh seed Stagg is a formidable opponent. Delta River League rival Pleasant Grove, the 10th-seed, and 15th-seed, Grant, are underdogs, but could easily reach the semifinals as well.

Franklin is on the other side of the bracket, along with fourth-seeded Downey. The fifth seed, Granite Bay, and the eighth seed, Lincoln of Stockton, will not be pushovers.

“We are in a good position and have an opportunity in front of us,” Cavaliere said. “Every game will be a tough game. I wouldn’t say we’re the favorite, but we’re definitely in the top tier of teams. Franklin is 10-0 and has played a tough schedule. On top of that, you’ve got teams like Granite Bay and Grant that could easily be section champs. In the end it’s not who we play, it’s how we play. We’re going to focus on us and play our best game.”

Oak Ridge enters the playoffs coming off a 28-14 win over Jesuit on Friday, despite turning the ball over three times. Byron Spain caught eight passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Jason Samuels completed 17-of-23 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns.

Blake Martin rushed for 99 yards and scored a touchdown, while Josh Wellman picked up 65 yards on the ground and also found the end zone. 

Oak Ridge scored one touchdown in each quarter, while the Marauders scored once in the first and fourth quarters.

“I thought we played well,” Cavaliere said. “Jesuit marched down and scored and after that we made a few adjustments and only gave up one more score. Offensively, we were solid and balanced. Byron scored two touchdowns, Blake ran hard and Jason was accurate. If you would have told me at the beginning of the season that we would go 9-1 with our schedule I would have taken it. We’re feeling good right now and we’re in a good place.”

The Oak Ridge JV team suffered a 21-14 loss to Jesuit and ended its season with a 3-7 record.